Along the shoreline of Lake Superior are a tall smokestack and concrete ruins. It is near the town of Freda west of Houghton in the Keweenaw Peninsula. The maze of weathered concrete and rusty rebar is what remains of the Champion Mill that processed the copper-rich rocks. Trains would pull into the mill and dump their cars filled with copper infused rocks. The mill would pulverize the rocks and mix them with water from lake superior creating a sludge rich in copper. It was then taken by train to Houghton for further processing and then poured into ingots and shipped around the world.
The mill closed in 1967 and it was stripped of any metal for scrap. I made the trip to see the ruins, but the road stops at a cliff that overlooks the remains. A barbed wire fence restricts people from getting to close. It was interesting to see but unfortunately, access for visitors is not allowed. It was not a wasted trip since I also stopped to see the waterfalls and old train bridge in nearby Redridge, but that is a post for another day.
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